Point of View: Who Could Sleep?

Even before the mother began pushing, I was pushing for Mary, or at least a name with Mary in it.

“‘Rose, pure contradiction,joy...’”I began as Mary looked up from her porch chair on the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 15.

“That’s from Rilke’s headstone.” “...‘To be...sleep....’ Ican’t remember . . . ‘to be...nobody’s sleep. . . .’ ” “You’re right about that,” she said, brightening. “Nobody slept last night — we were all worrying about Johnna.”

Later that night, at around 9, the parturition news was imparted from California, to wit, that our grand- daughter, our eighth grandchild, had, at last, arrived.

And, of course, we all want to know the name.

Even before the mother began pushing, I was pushing for Mary, or at least a name with Mary in it. Their surname being Norris, I thought Marianna would be nice. Marianna Norris would go trippingly on the tongue, I thought. But, as  I’ve been told many times before it’s not about me. It’s about them and what they want. And, besides, there are so many people to please and it is their baby after all.

“I remember being so grateful after Johnna and Georgie were born that it was all over,” Mary said. “But then I realized: It’s just begun!”

We’re all flying blind here, and, unlike the bat I wrote about last week, we don’t have sonar. We bump about.

But there’s the rose and there’s joy, and who could sleep under that many eyelids? The baby, I’ll bet. And presumably the mother and father too.

Pretty heady stuff those exit lines of the poet’s. And so was this entrance, with everyone waiting, waiting.

So, I’ll be exchanging the rah-rah- ing for ahh-aah-ing these next two weeks.

And wait impatiently for the time when she hits her first tennis ball.